Sundance 2020 Deals: The Complete List of Festival Purchases So Far

Here’s an up-to-date breakdown of the acquisitions at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Though the Sundance Film Festival’s 2019 edition, which runs January 23 through February 2 in Park City, Utah, is still a week away from unfolding, some are the hottest films will arrive at the festival with distribution already in hand. IndieWire has compiled all of the acquisitions so far and will continue to update the list as the festival unfolds and more buys come in.

Netflix, which dominated this years Oscar nominations, is the distributor coming to the festival with the most titles (eight as of this writing) including the high-profile documentary “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana” from director Lana Wilson and Sundance regular Dee Rees’ latest effort, the Anne Hathaway-starring “The Last Thing He Wanted.”

Still, there are  plenty of other buzzy titles up for grabs to the highest bidder from across Sundance’s sections, like “Shirley,” a psychodrama from “Madeline’s Madeline” director Josephine Decker starring Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg as author Shirley Jackson and her husband. Elsewhere, Miranda July will debut her first film in nearly a decade. The untitled Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering documentary, focused on a former music executive’s accusations of sexual assault against Russell Simmons, will be searching for a buyer after former executive producer Oprah Winfrey backed out of the project, which was set for release on Apple TV+.

Here’s everything that’s been picked up, with more to unfold in the coming days.

Title: “Charm City Kings”
Section: U.S. Dramatic Competition
Buyer: Sony Pictures Classics

Inspired by Lotfy Nathan’s 2013 documentary of the same name, Angel Manuel Soto’s narrative take follows 14-year-old Mouse (Jahi Di’Allo Winston, “The Upside”) in his bid to join Baltimore’s Midnight Clique, a group of dirtbike riders who rule the streets. Midnight’s leader, Blax (Meek Mill, in his feature film debut) takes the teenager under his wing and Mouse finds himself torn between a straight life and one filled with money and violence. The screenplay is by Sherman Payne, with a story by Chris Boyd, Kirk Sullivan, and “Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins. SPC announced it acquired the film in December and plans to release it in select theaters April 10 before a wide release the following week.

Title: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Section: U.S. Dramatic Competition
Buyer: Focus Features

Pastel’s Adele Romanski, who produced 2017 Best Picture winner “Moonlight,” was among the producers of this intimate portrait of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. The pair make a trek across state lines to New York after one of them unintentionally becomes pregnant.

Riley Keough and Taylour Paige appear in <i>Zola</i> by Janicza Bravo, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Anna Kooris.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.



Title: “Zola”
Section: U.S. Dramatic Competition
Buyer: A24

Director Janicza Bravo (“Lemon”) returns to Sundance with a film adaptation of an infamous 148-tweet Twitter thread. The film tells the story of two women (Taylour Paige and Riley Keough) who bond over their “hoeism” and embark on an ill-fated trip from Detroit to Florida.

Title: “Crip Camp”
Section: U.S. Documentary Competition
Buyer: Netflix

Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s film explores a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers that helped ignite a landmark movement.

Title: “Dick Johnson Is Dead”
Section: U.S. Documentary Competition
Buyer: Netflix

Kirsten Johnson’s inventive portrait seeks a way to keep her 86-year-old father alive forever using the tools of her trade and her family’s dark humor to stage fantasies of death and beyond as part of a family’s reckoning with death.

Title: “Welcome to Chechnya”
Section: U.S. Documentary Competition
Buyer: HBO

Director David France’s investigation into a group of activists risking peril to confront anti-LGBTQ policies in Chechnya uses unfettered access and protection of subjects’ anonymity to help expose an under-reported atrocity.

Title: “Into the Deep”
Section: World Cinema Documentary Competition
Buyer: Netflix

What started as a documentary of amateur inventor Peter Madsen turned into something else after Madsen murdered Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine.



Fox Searchlight Pictures/screenshot

Title: “Downhill”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Fox Searchlight

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell star in this English-language remake of the “Force Majeure.” Like the Swedish original, directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash (“The Way, Way Back”) explore one couple’s marital tension after barely escaping an avalanche during a ski vacation.

Title: “Dream Horse”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Bleecker Street

Toni Collette stars as a cleaner who, along with a bartender (Damian Lewis) decide on a whim to breed a race horse in their Welsh village. As the horse rises through the ranks, Jan and her community are pitted against the racing elite in the film from Welsh director Euros Lyn.

Title: “Kajillionaire”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Annapurna Pictures/United Artists Releasing

Writer-director Miranda July’s third feature, and her first in almost a decade, explores what happens when a family of low-stakes grifters (led by Evan Rachel Wood) invite a chipper young woman into their insular clan.

Title: “The Last Thing He Wanted”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Netflix

Dee Rees (“Mudbound”) directs Anne Hathaway, Willem Dafoe, and Ben Affleck in an adaptation by the Joan Didion book of the same name. The film follows a Washington, D.C. journalist who finds herself wrapped up in the very story she’s trying to break.

Title: “Lost Girls”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Netflix

Based on a true story, the first narrative film from documentarian Liz Garbus (“The Fourth Estate”) centers around a woman’s (Amy Ryan) quest to find her missing daughter in a tony Long Island community. Her search brings her attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers.

Title: “Promising Young Woman”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Focus Features

Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, and Connie Britton star in “Killing Eve” showrunner Emerald Fennell’s look into the life of a, yes, promising young woman whose life is turned upside down. That leads her to live a double life by night and right the wrongs of the past in this revenge thriller.

Title: “Sergio”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Netflix

After directing the 2009 documentary of the same name, Greg Barker delivers a scripted take on the story of top UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, whose life hangs in the balance during a treacherous mission following the US invasion of Iraq. Wagner Moura, Ana de Armas, Garret Dillahunt, Will Dalton, Bradley Whitford, and Brían F. O’Byrne star in the film with a screenplay from “Dallas Buyers Club” Oscar winner Craig Borten.



Fox Searchlight

Title: “Wendy”
Section: Premieres
Buyer: Fox Searchlight

In a re-imagining of Peter Pan from “Beasts of the Southern Wild” director Benh Zeitlin, Wendy is lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued and she must fight to save her family, freedom, and the spirit of youth from the peril of growing up.

Title: “The Go-Go’s”
Section: Documentary Premieres
Buyer: Showtime

From Alison Ellwood (“American Jihad”), an examination of the first all-female band to play their instruments, write their songs, and have a No. 1 album featuring candid testimonies from band members and others.

Title: “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind”
Section: Documentary Premieres
Buyer: HBO Documentary Films

Known for his work on behind-the-scenes documentaries, director Laurent Bouzereau turns his lens to the story of Natalie Wood, who drowned in 1981, with a focus on the unique perspective of Wood’s daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and others who knew the “Rebel Without a Cause” actress.

Title: “Taylor Swift: Miss Americana”
Section: Documentary Premieres
Buyer: Netflix

“After Tiller” Emmy winner Lana Wilson directs an inside look at a transformational period in Taylor Swift’s life as she learns to embrace her role as songwriter and performer and harnessing the full power of her voice as a woman.

Title: “Rebuilding Paradise”
Section: Documentary Premieres
Buyer: National Geographic Documentary Films

From director Ron Howard, the documentary unfolds during the year after the most destructive wildfire in California history as the people of the town of Paradise rebuild their lives.

Title: “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made”
Section: Kids
Buyer: Disney+

Tom McCarthy, director of Best Picture-winner “Spotlight,” turns to family fare with an adaptation of the kids book by the same name. The film follows Timmy Failure and his 1,500-pound polar bear partner as they operate a Portland detective agency.

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